Last month I wrote about the truth that all God’s promises to us are yes because of the price His Son paid for us on the cross. If you did not get to read it, you can still read it by clicking on the title ‘God says yes’. I really believe it will bless you and encourage you to take hold of all God’s promises for yourself and the people in your world. But I know that while some of you loved to hear that truth, others of you may have thought, ‘yes I know all about God’s promises but how do I see the reality of what I believe to be true in my heart?’ And for some of you, you have waited for some of God’s promises for so long that you have given up hope that you will ever see them fulfilled in your lifetime. If any of these resonate with you, then read on. I believe your Father wants to encourage you today.
There is something about a victory that is won after a fight that makes it all the more precious. I am not sure why. Perhaps it’s the way we are made. Think back to when you were younger and you played games with an older sibling or a parent. Think about the times when you won and then later on found out that they had simply let you win, you hadn’t won because you had been better than them. Suddenly the victory did not seem quite so sweet. The satisfaction not as great. In contrast, think of a time when you really had to push through to accomplish something, or a time when the stakes were so high that you put all of yourself into it and prayed like you had never prayed before. I can almost hear the resounding ‘yes!’ that would have come out of your mouth when the victory was eventually won.
And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force (as a precious prize – a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with the most ardent zeal and intense exertion). Matthew 11:12 The Amplified Bible.
This is ‘fighting’ vocabulary. The Bible is full of it. It’s not that God doesn’t want us to see the fulfilment of His promises. It’s the enemy who doesn’t want us to have it. Our Father is a good Father. He is the greatest Promise Keeper there ever was. He knows the enemy will try to keep us from receiving His promises, either by convincing us they are not for us, that we don’t qualify or by putting so many obstacles in front of us that we give up the fight. Wrong call by the way. Giving up the fight that is. Why give up the only fight we are guaranteed to win? Paul called it the ‘good fight of faith’ in 1 Timothy 6:12 & 2 Timothy 4:7; good because it is a worthy and honourable fight. Good because there is guaranteed victory in Jesus. Good because the referee is on our side. How can we possibly fail? So God stands with us and gives us all the weaponry we need to win this fight. It is the only fight where the outcome is determined even before the fight begins.
But why is it so hard sometimes, you might ask? I know. I have asked that question countless times in the past. In fact recently, I was having such a battle with something that had taken so long in happening that I found myself asking the same question. Why, God does it have to be so hard? Why can’t it just happen smoothly, with little stress and even less delay. I was so weary of the fight I had had to put up that I was feeling worn out and discouraged. Don’t get me wrong; there are some things that just happen even without our necessarily praying for it. There are some blessings that just seem to fall onto our laps and we think ‘wow, that was easy!’ But a lot of times when it comes to the big things that will really change our lives and declare to the whole world that God is truly all that He says that He is, the enemy will not sit back and let us have it without a fight. And in case you haven’t noticed the pressure is usually greatest just before fulfilment. It’s the enemy’s one last shot at trying to stop God’s plan from coming to pass.
Well, I got an answer to my question. It wasn’t exactly the one I was expecting. I was praying on my way to the Bible College where I teach, mentor and support students one day a week; when I heard Holy Spirit gently drop a scripture in my mind.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4 NLT
And then I heard these words ever so gently: ‘quit whining about how hard it is and start praising Me for what I am doing’. That stopped me in my tracks! God is after my perfection and completeness. And yours. Those trials are an opportunity to allow myself to grow into all that He wants me to be. Then I’ll come out of that trial with spiritual muscles like superwoman and the next time the enemy throws me a punch, he’ll wish he hadn’t started a fight in the first place. I spent the rest of the day praising Papa for His goodness. I felt much lighter and it wasn’t long before things turned around in that particular situation.
So how do you fight this good fight of faith with the promises that God has given you?
- You keep the promises before you all the time. Read it, speak it, pray over it, think (meditate) about it. You literally live it.
- You hold these promises up as your shield and sword in the face of obstacles that come against you including the obstacle of delay. Delay has a way of bringing discouragement and despair. Refuse to let it do that. Determine in your heart that you will not focus on how long it may be taking but that you will hold on for as long as it takes even if you die still believing. Many of the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 did not see what they were looking ahead to but kept believing until they died. What a testimony!
- Get people praying with you and for you. We were never meant to fight this battle on our own. The prayers of others will hold you up and bring increased grace to wage war especially during those times when you feel weary to the bone.
- Praise God for the answers even though you can’t see them yet. Praise brings God on the scene like nothing else does. He inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3)
- Keep expecting. Hope is the bedrock of our faith. If we stop hoping, we stop believing.
And finally, remember that underneath you are His wonderful everlasting arms to keep you from falling. If there is anyway that I can pray for you, please do not hesitate to contact me. We are in this race together you and I, and together we will make it to the finish line in one piece. He who is faithful has promised and will do it!